Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Air and sea ports suffer as stormy weather sweeps across Israel

Stormy weather swept through the country Tuesday, causing delays at Ben-Gurion International Airport and forcing the Haifa sea port to partially close down.

At least eight arrivals to Ben Gurion Airport were delayed Tuesday due to the severe weather conditions.


Turtle Migrates 12,774 Miles

A leatherback turtle was tracked by satellite traveling 12,774 miles (20,558 kilometers) from Indonesia to Oregon, one of the longest recorded migrations of any vertebrate animal, scientists announced in a new report on sea turtle conservation.

Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest of all living turtles and are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans. They have been seen in the waters off Argentina, Tasmania, Alaska and Nova Scotia.

©Brian Hutchinson, CI
A leatherback sea turtle returns to sea in Grande Riviere, Trinidad.


Rare 3-Foot Spitting Earthworm Found in Legal Battle

A rare 3-foot-long spitting earthworm that smells like lilies is at the heart of a legal battle between conservationists and the U.S. government.

When taxonomist Frank Smith discovered the giant Palouse earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) in 1897 by, he described it as "very abundant." Nowadays, however, sightings of the worm are rare.

The only recent confirmed worm sighting was made in 2005 by a University of Idaho researcher. Before that, the giant worm had not been spotted in 17 years, since 1988.

©Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon/University of Idaho (c) 2005
The large, light-colored worm at the top is the giant Palouse earthworm, Driloleirus americanus. Below is the southern worm or Aporrectodea trapezoides, an introduced species.


This Beetle Really Rocks

A new species of beetle that appears as if wearing a tuxedo has been named in honor of the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.

Entomologist Quentin Wheeler of Arizona State University announced the discovery and naming of the beetle, now dubbed Orectochilus orbisonorum, during a Roy Orbison Tribute Concert on Jan. 25.

The ending of the species name, "orum," denotes it was named after a couple. If the beetle were just named after Roy it would end in "i," and for just Barbara, the name would end in "ae."

©Charles J. Kazilek, Arizona State University
This lateral view shows the new species of whirligig beetle, revealing its divided eyes (above and below the water line) and its white underside.


Bus crash on icy road in China kills 25

GUANGZHOU - Some of the worst winter weather to hit southern China in decades took 25 more lives Tuesday when a bus plunged off an icy road, adding to the chaos the snow storms have caused during the nation's peak travel season.

Numerous cities suffered blackouts as heavy snowfalls caused power lines to snap and hampered the delivery of coal, used to generate most of China's electricity. Around 50 deaths so far have been blamed on the weather.

Arrow Down

Western Canada facing this winter's coldest temps.

Canadians from British Columbia to Manitoba are being warned to batten down the hatches, bundle up or just stay inside Monday night as bitterly cold winds sweep across a significant swath of western Canada.

Winds up to 80 kilometres an hour are set to make already cold temperatures feel like -50 C and could cause white-out conditions on roadways, turning minor snowfalls into major headaches for drivers.

Bizarro Earth

New Fault Found in Europe; May "Close Up" Adriatic Sea

A newly identified fault running under the Adriatic Sea is building more of Croatia's Dalmatian Islands and bulking up the Dinaric Alps, a new study says.

Both the islands and the mountain chain - which runs along the upper western coast of the Balkan Peninsula - were believed to have stopped growing 20 million to 30 million years ago.

©Dario Mitidieri/Getty Images
A previously unknown active fault off the coast of Croatia is creating new additions to the Dalmatian Islands, according to a new study. The fault lies northwest of the southern town of Dubrovnik, seen above at sunrise with several of the islands in the distance.


WWF calls for supermarkets to boycott bluefin tuna

The environmental group WWF on Monday called on supermarket chains around the world to take bluefin tuna off their shelves, saying overfishing, driven by the craze for sushi, threatened to wipe out the species.

Praising several retail chains that have taken the lead in refusing to sell bluefin, WWF said it was time for "retailers around the world to emulate their courageous decision... until this fish is out of danger."

Cloud Lightning

China issues severe weather warning amid fuel shortage fears

China issued a severe weather warning on Monday for large swathes of the country already reeling from transport havoc and power shortages caused by the heaviest snowfalls in decades.

The forecast of further severe snowstorms came as hundreds of thousands of travellers remained stranded in airports, train stations, and on highways as they struggled to join their families for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Even before the new weather warning, Premier Wen Jiabao called late Sunday for "urgent" action to combat blackouts and the mounting transport chaos caused by what has been described as the heaviest snow in China in half a century in places.


China counts cost of snowy winter chaos

Beijing - Brutal winter weather across China on Monday stranded hundreds of thousands of people and choked energy flows, claiming a rising human and economic toll that pummeled local stock prices ahead of Chinese New Year.

At least 24 people had died in two weeks of accidents due to snow, sleet and freezing cold across central, eastern and southern China, regions used to milder winters, Xinhua news agency said.